Friday, November 30, 2007


Friday 30 November 2007

WMESB™: 2 passengers today: that’s right, there was an interloper on MY bus.

The late night on a school night finally took its toll yesterday afternoon and when I got home I went straight to bed for two hours. After getting up to watch “Never Mind The Buzzcocks”, checking the football scores, doing my e-mails and reading some other blogs I went back to bed.

Today is St. Andrew’s Day and Forth One are making a big play of the fact that they’ll be playing lots of Scottish artists throughout the day. Well it’s nearly lunchtime and all they’ve played is the usual suspects; namely Wet Wet Wet, Texas, The Proclaimers, The Fratellis and other Scottish acts that they always play. Today would have been an ideal opportunity to expand on their normal repertoire and play a wider range of great Scottish singles. From the Jock ‘n’ Roll Singles Poll Top 10 alone they could have played any of these classics:

The Associates – Party Fears Two
The Skids – Into The Valley
Aztec Camera – Oblivious
Big Country – In A Big Country
The Blue Nile – Tinseltown In The Rain
Trashcan Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks
Cocteau Twins – Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops

There’s a whole host of Scottish bands that they could play instead of the usual “safe” selections. Other great Scottish acts that featured in the Jock ‘n’ Roll Top 100 Singles included: The Waterboys, Edwyn Collins/Orange Juice, Gerry Rafferty, Jesus and Mary Chain, Altered Images, Primal Scream, Hipsway, Teenage Fanclub, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, Lloyd Cole an the Commotions, The Rezillos, Belle and Sebastian, Roddy Frame/Aztec Camera, Strawberry Switchblade, Love and Money, Arab Strap, Friends Again, Idlewild, The Big Dish, Camera Obscura, Shop Assistants, Average White Band, Eddi Reader, Fire Engines, Horse, Bay City Rollers, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Vaselines, Sons and Daughters, BMX Bandits, The River Detectives, Win, Josef K, Fiction Factory, Nazareth, H²O, The Bluebells, The Beta Band, Frankie Miller and Bourgie Bourgie. That’s a great list by anyone’s standards but instead we get Travis, Del Amitri and Deacon Bloody Blue all the time.

Sam Jackson’s Forth One show, which starts at 1pm, has a feature called “Class or Trash”. I sent her an e-mail a few weeks ago suggesting that she play the two records that were voted Best and Worst Scottish Single in the Jock ‘n’ Roll poll, namely “Party Fears Two” up against Wet Wet Wet’s Love Is All Around”, as part of the St. Andrew's Day celebrations. It’ll be interested to see if she actually plays them. As well as being a presenter she’s Head of Music and I’ve always wondered what that job actually involves ata commercial station. Does she go out looking for new bands and singers to play or does she head up a “Roundtable” style “Juke Box Jury” selection of new records, full of RnB and pop records foisted on them from major label pluggers? Either way, they’ve missed some great Scottish records over the last two years. Things like “Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”/“Let’s Get Out Of This Country” by Camera Obscura or Aberfeldy’s “Tom Weir” would sound great on the radio, as would Ally Kerr’s “Could Have Been A Contender”, which is a cracking track and my new favourite record. (Stop Press: She didn’t play my selections – what a shock).

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Thursday 29 November 2007

WMESB™: You’ve guessed it, only one passenger again.
Driver: Same driver as yesterday. I suggested he pick me up at my front door as no one would notice.

All my meticulous planning for the trip to Glasgow went out of the window ten minutes before I was due to leave!

John phoned me and asked if I was still going. I picked him up at his house, which was nearer the Kincardine Bridge than the Forth Bridge so we went that way. It was a nightmare. In the dark, weaving between hundreds of cones on an unfamiliar road was not my idea of fun but, hey, this is rock ‘n’ roll. We only took one small wrong turn and got to the venue easily enough and parking was a doddle. In fact, we were right outside the venue.

As John is a well-kent face around the music scene he struck up a conversation with Ally Kerr, who is the resident turn at the Viva Melodia gigs. I was keen to get to the gig early enough to see Ally play as I’d only heard a couple of tracks and I’d really enjoyed them. He didn’t disappoint as he played four or five songs, accompanied by another guitarist, who John said was better than his normal guitarist. I was pleased to hear that Ally had heard of the Jock ‘n’ Roll website

Lead singer James was the first of The Orchids to appear. I thought he might have been at the pub watching the Celtic game with the others but he’d come straight from work. Guitarist Keith joined us as we watched support band The Recovery Club, a three-piece with more than a hint of Portishead about them; kind of ethereal and floaty but enjoyable nonetheless.

The rest of The Orchids turned up and were in a good mood (Celtic had won 2-1 with a goal at the death). The band was on fine form and played a semi-acoustic set, including two songs*:

You Could Do Something To Me
A Place Called Home
Johnny Loves Methadone*
Welcome To My Curious Heart
I Need You To Believe In Me
The Last Thing (On Your Mind)
The OK Song*
Obsession No 1

John had been never heard The Orchids before tonight so I played the “Striving For The Lazy Perfection” album on the way over. He was glad that he’d come out for the gig and I was glad to have a navigator. I’ve found in my short time driving that local knowledge is an invaluable tool. In fact we didn’t even bother with the Sat Nav. on the way home.

We shared a drink with the band, Elaine (James’ wife), Elspeth and Calum after the set and then we went our separate ways. But not before Ally Kerr kindly gave John and I a copy of the “Could Have Been A Contender” CD single, one of the two tracks I knew by him. The trip home was worse that the run over. Pissing rain, spray everywhere and too many drivers not dipping their headlights. After dropping John off, I drove through the empty streets of Dunfermline (it was like the place had officially been shut) and got home at 1am. Another rock ’n’ roll night had come to an end.

I thought I might feel like crap this morning but I wasn’t too bad. No doubt, due to supping soft drinks at the gig – something I’ll have to get used to.

There’s a new person to annoy me on the buses (except she doesn’t actually get on my bus). On several occasions, over the last two weeks, the same woman walks up to the door of the X57 at the Ferrytoll and asks the driver for confirmation that the X58 (sitting behind the X57) will be leaving first. She then gets on the X58. Doing that once is fair enough but it’s been three or four times now. Does she think the timetable is suddenly going to change overnight? I wonder what she would do if she took her seat on the X58 and the X57 actually left first. I was praying for the driver to leave early today, just for sport.

Wednesday 28 November 2007

WMESB™: I refer the honourable readers to the answer I gave some 24 hours ago.
Driver: Same driver as yesterday.

Flicked between several footie matches last night without really concentrating on one.

Went on to a variety of websites in an attempt to find the definitive route to the Cottier Theatre – three sites, three differing routes. I forgot that Glasgow has some crazy one-way system, especially around the venue. At least I’ve got plenty of time to get there and home again. I think I’ll need it. More importantly, I’ve organised my soundtrack for the journey.

Talking of which, I’m enjoying the newly refreshed mp3 player and this morning’s journey to work featured some doozies:

Jesus and Mary Chain – Never Understand
Crowded House – Distant Sun
Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
The Popguns – Waiting For The Winter
Groove Farm – The Best Part of Being With You
My Bloody Valentine – Paint A Rainbow
Darling Buds – Uptight
Mother and the Addicts – So Tough
The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
The Beat – Jeanette
Chin Chin – Stop Your Crying
Morrissey – Boxers
Superstar – Couldn’t It Be You
Simple Minds – Theme For Great Cities (the perfect travelling-to-work-in-the-morning-on-public-transport-in-the-dark instrumental)
The Beat – I Confess
Babybird – Goodnight
Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love 12”
Sharon Tandy – Love Makes The World Go Round
House of Love – Destroy The Heart
Jim Gipson – Kill Me Once Again

Watched “Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and it begs the questions: (a) why do people unsuited to the restaurant business go into it (and risk losing everything they have)? (b) why do people who can’t cook work in kitchens (risking the lives of customers)? and (c) why do people ignore the sound advice of someone who has countless restaurants and awards and a wealth of experience? Personally, I’d have spit-roasted Toby and sold him on the carvery, although I suspect he’d have been a bit grisly.

I didn’t get a chance to sob like a big Jessie last night as "The Secret Millionaire", which usually follows Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares had been put back to 2305 because of a programme about The Sun’s “Dear Deirdre” column. I’ve taped it and shall watch it tomorrow with a box of Kleenex at the ready.

I’ve once again been snubbed in the list of the Scotland on Sunday’s Top 50 Most Eligible Scots. I suspect this is in no small part down to the fact that (a) I’m married and (b) I’m not Scottish; still, it would be nice to be considered. The GLW has suggested I’m “bubbling under” at 51, again. Bless her. I actually know someone who IS on the list. Billy McElhaney is at number 22 and he’s a friend of the family. He’s also a bloody good laugh.

I’ve just found out that as well as the Celtic game there are also three big gigs on in Glasgow tonight. Queens of the Stone Age (Carling Academy), The Pigeon Detectives (Barrowlands – Sold Out) and Michael Buble at the SECCCCC will help to add to the congestion! I just can’t wait!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tuesday 27 November 2007

WMESB™: Just me as usual. I feel like I have my own bus.
Driver: After yesterday’s rip-off £5.70 single, I buy a 12-journey ticket for £23. The driver, the same one as yesterday, informs me that his new ticket machine was £36 down yesterday!! What was he doing? Helping himself?

I got an e-mail back from the Promotions and Marketing Executive, Oona McGinnis, at Forth One who insisted that the presenter “executed the quiz correctly” yesterday. She asked me to call her so she could go over the rules.

In my e-mail yesterday I also, rather cheekily, suggested that they could do worse that employ someone like me to avoid these kind of problems. I also suggested, however, that they probably couldn’t afford me.

I didn’t call Oona but e-mailed the following reply:

“I still believe that the quiz wasn’t executed properly because player A was disadvantaged.

The phrase ”sudden death” is a misnomer because if you have two players being asked questions independently then they need to be asked an equal number of questions. If they were “on the buzzer” or had to shout out, directly against each other, then it would be appropriate to have a one-off “sudden death” situation. If Player A gets his first question wrong do you declare Player B the winner without a question? No you don’t. So why should it be any different in a subsequent round of questions?

Player A is disadvantaged because Player A has got his question wrong and he hasn’t had the chance to see if Player B will get their question wrong too. In a football penalty shoot out that goes to “sudden death” if Team A misses Team B still have to score their penalty to win. I don’t see how this is any different. The player going first in your quiz is disadvantaged.

I appreciate that you might not want a quiz to “drag on” but you prevent that happening by making the questions progressively harder.

If memory serves me correctly, I’m pretty sure that if you listen to recordings of Grant doing the quiz you’ll hear him doing it the correct/fair way.



P.S. Got any jobs? ;)”

I also e-mailed Edwin Mutton at the Institute of Sales Promotions for his opinion of the fairness of the quiz. He’s out the office until Monday but hopefully he’ll get back to me next week.

Fact: Quizzes should be written and run by quiz people.

It was a slow afternoon in the office and for a reason I'm still not entirely sure about the four of us drew round our hands and then decorated them. I think it was a competition for a Women's cause/charity thing. I did mine on red paper and alternated yellow and orange highlighters in stripes across it. Then I wrote HANDS at the tips of the fingers and OFF at the wrist. I thought it was subtly coloured whilst still getting the message across, whatever it's supposed to be! Tony Hart would've been proud. Oh, and apparently I have fat fingers. You know what they say about men with big fingers? That's right, they wear big gloves!

I'll get my coat. And scarf. And big gloves.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Sunday 25 November 2007

The plan was to spend the day at my brother-in-law’s but when I woke up I just didn’t feel like being sociable. The GLW and the Flickster left me to it. As it turned out, I got a lot of stuff done. After my lie-in, I got the Sunday papers, read them and cut out the competitions and crosswords, washed the windows, hovered, ironed my shirts for work, completed the comps/crosswords, watched the World Cup draw online, did all the dishes (twice), did the recycling, emptied the bins in the kitchen and study, make a sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch and even fitted in some quality pottering and “doing stuff”.

The only thing I didn’t manage to do was refresh my mp3 player. I’ve had the same 130+ tracks for a few months now and it needs a radical shake up. I don’t want to sicken myself of songs I love. I had a crazy notion to put every single Smiths song on it but then I realised that most of them are on vinyl. So until I get a USB turntable I’ll need to make do with another compilation – a veritable cornucopia of classic cuts of consummate coo, or something.

Monday 26 November 2007

WMESB™: Yes, you’ve guessed it, 1!
Driver: They’ve got new ticket machines on the buses and the driver claimed he couldn’t sell me a Single to Edinburgh! He suggested I take a seat and get it at the Ferrytoll. About a hundred yards from the Ferrytoll he shouted that he’d found it!! £5.70 for a bloody single to Edinburgh! A 12-journey Megarider is only £23.

Work was uneventful. Thankfully, I’m got a lift home and the quiz double bill of Mastermind and University Challenge has been restored.

I’m off to see The Orchids in Glasgow’s Cottier Theatre on Wednesday night. It’s a free gig, my favourite kind, and it’s the first time I’ll have driven cross-country to a gig. My only concern is the traffic because Celtic are playing at home in a Champions League game. However, most of the band are Celtic fans so I don’t imagine they’ll be playing until after the game has finished. I’ll probably be going on my own but I’ve asked John, a guy I’ve met at various gigs over the years, if he wants to come. He stays near me so it won’t be a complicated pickup. I've been to plenty of gigs on my own over the years but it'd be nice to go through with someone.

Forth One cocked up their Just The Job competition today and I told the presenter so. The first contestant got a question wrong and the other guy was declared the winner without having to get one of his own right. Even in football penalty shoot-outs the other tea is given the opportunity to score or miss after the first team has missed. This is what happens when non-quiz people write/present quizzes. I did offer my services to them but then decided that they couldn’t afford me. The presenter, who shall remain nameless, said it was the “world’s most confusing quiz”. It wasn’t, certainly not compared with the “darts” one that BBC6 Music had on Nemone’s show. Now that one was a crock of shit.

Some good news this afternoon as I’ve been accepted for “Brainbox”, a show I auditioned for in Glasgow a few weeks ago. I got a call from BBC Manchester and I’ll need to take a couple of days off in mid-December. Luckily the show won’t clash with my Christmas night out, which is the day after. I’m already getting nervous about it and it isn’t for three weeks! Mind you, I always get this way. I think you can win £5000 a day for a maximum of three days and, needless to say, I’d be happy with one £5k win. Oh, and I’ll need a new quiz show shirt too! Although my experience shows that it shouldn't have small checks, big checks, black, white red (it "bleeds" on screen) or logos. Where's my wardrobe assistant?

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Saturday 24 November 2007

After a lie-in I busied myself this morning with "pottering" and "doing stuff", two of my favourite hobbies, something that men, as a whole, tend to excel at.

I sent off an application form to be a Trainee Question Setter/Fact Checker for a well-known production company. The closing date is actually passed but when I sent them an e-mail I got an automated reply back, complete with application form. So I filled it in and sent it back with a short paragraph or two. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. How cool would it be if I could work for the R&A organising entries for the Open (sorry, Tiger, your cheque's bounced!) AND being a question writer for television quiz shows? The optimist in me says" you never know", the pessimist in me "I should be so lucky" and the realist says "in your fuckin' dreams".

The Outlaws were visiting so after tea I drove them home. I listened to a CD of songs by Jim Gipson, former frontman of Black Nite Crash, the nearly men of indie rock. It was given to me by Joe, who was also in BNC and now works for the same employer I do. The CD is an absolute cracker and pisses all over singer-songwriters like James Morrison, James Blunt et al. Jim could be big in 2008 - watch this space.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Wednesday 21 November 2007

WMESB™: 1 passenger, which was obviously moi. How can a bus with one passenger be running late? It was 7/8 minutes late at my bus stop and a similar amount when I got to the Ferrytoll. I had to run for the X57 parked ahead of the D7.

In line with No Music Day, I didn’t bother with my mp3 player on the bus. I managed to get a seat behind the driver, which is far enough away from the other passengers so that I don’t have to put up with their inane chitchat. I spent the entire journey looking out of the window at the people in their cosy little cars, with more than a hint of jealousy. I’d spent ten minutes at the bus stop in the wind and rain (no bus shelter) wondering in a rather self-pitying manner why, at the age of 40, I’m still spending so much of my life at bus stops, freezing my bollocks off. I traipsed into work cold and depressed.

I got a lift home to the Ferrytoll after work yesterday and just made the 1630 D7, only to be charged a whopping £1.70 for a 16-minute journey. For a similarly timed journey on the D3/D4 into James Street, it’s only £1.15! My friend and colleague Tricia is back from holiday so hopefully I can get a regular lift home. She drives like a demon so we normally get home quick smart. She says she only gives me a lift because she needs ballast in the car, one of those flat grey Smart cars.

The only interesting piece of mail I got when I got home was my fortnightly copy of Web User one of only two magazines I subscribe to; the other being Mojo. What I like about Web User is the amount of useful tips in each issue. Some issues are better than others but for the most part I always find some useful computer tip. Their website forums are also a great help. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been helped on there.

Dave, my Jocknroll website cohort, phoned me last night from Newport Pagnall (no, he hadn’t lost his bag). He said one of his colleagues had heard me on Radio Scotland promoting the website and is now a fan because he thought I was hilarious. The comment about people who weren’t into music liking Texas, in the same way that people who don’t like sport watch rugby union went down especially well and had the listener in bits. I was blushing on the phone. Just before Dave phoned I got an e-mail from David Wells, who runs Neon Tetra records, the Scottish record company whose roster of acts was promoted on the “Independent and Free” CD that I mentioned a few blogs ago. We swapped mutual appreciation. He thanked us for plugging the label and CD on our site and I thanked him for such a bloody good compilation. It’s been one of five CDs on constant rotation since the weekend. My favourite tracks are the “Honest Injun” by Green Peppers (featuring Del Amitri’s Justin Currie on guest vocals) and the Daniel Wylie one, whose title escapes me for the moment (Stop Press: "Define Love").

The telly was pretty rubbish last night. I watched a Storyville documentary on BBC4 about a company in India called “Office Tiger”, who I would just hate to work for. 18-hour days, I don’t think so. And we’re not talking about downtrodden sweatshop call centre workers (although it is a call centre of sorts); these people WANT to work these hours for this company. No mention was made of the sorts of salaries the workers were paid. The head honcho (pictured, right) was an American whose every pronouncement was full of management speak. He’d shake hands and say hello to everybody although he had a habit of getting their names wrong. He was also obsessed that everyone should wear a tie so as to give off a professional image. I just thought he looked like a Scientologist and therefore a bit of a twat. It was shown as part of the 10th anniversary of the Storyville documentaries, which I enjoy. There was another one on after “Office Tiger” about the dotcom boom (called "" and I was keen to watch it but I taped it because it was finishing at 0045, well past my bedtime.

I e-mailed the chairman of one of the other local residents’ associations to see what problems, if any, he has encountered with his factors. Ours, as has been previously discussed, are idiots. The meeting with them is at 7pm at the new Leisure Centre and I’m not looking forward to it. I can see it either being a washout in terms of attendance or an absolute rabble, especially if certain local residents attend.

I watched England’s dismal performance against Croatia. As a goalkeeper of sorts (I retired while I was at the bottom), I feel sorry for Scott Carson. It’s unfortunate that his mistake will overshadow the shoddy performance of so many others. The only player who came out of the first half with any merit was the much-maligned Peter Crouch. He did his job well but no one was coming from midfield for the knockdowns. I thought the state of the pitch was shocking too and I can’t believe they allowed an American Football match to be played on it so close to a vital match. No doubt it was all down to money.

Thursday 22 November 2007

Last night, after the football and before going to bed, I did one last check of my e-mails and I was rather irked to see that there were two anonymous comments on my Blog and they were both very negative.

Under normal circumstances I would gladly fight for someone’s right to express their own opinion in our democratic society. But when the comments made are done anonymously by Keyboard Cowards™ then that right, as far as I am concerned, goes out the window. If you think my Blog is “a pile of wank” then fine but don’t make that comment hiding behind the “anonymous” moniker. Making comments in this way says more about you than me.

I could handle it if you said my Blog was maybe dull, after all it is meant to reflect my mundane existence and the shit I have to face day in, day out; the stupid people, my life-sucking job and the occasional moment of joy. It’s not Pulitzer Prize winning stuff and it’s not meant to be. I wish I could write as well as the likes of Andrew Collins or Charlie Brooker but I can’t. They get paid for their writings and deservedly so. I don’t and therefore I won’t tolerate abuse of my blog or me as a person.

I never thought I would get many comments on my Blog as it was only ever intended as a “release” - a way of unclogging my mind of all the frustrations that weigh me down and prevent me from getting some sort of focus. I thank those who have taken the time to post a comment because it really is appreciated.

I won’t let these sad small-minded individuals (although I suspect the two comments were made by the same person) get me down. I’ve now stopped anonymous posts and switched the Comment Moderation on. It’s a shame I had to do that. Onwards and upwards.

I had my annual review at work today. It doesn’t really affect my salary but I go along with it although I’m not really a fan of the system because it just seems like paperwork for paperwork's sake. All the behavioural and/or technical competencies for my job are the same as they were last year, although once again I’ve exceeded my competency in “Creativity and Innovation” and “Office Technology”. It’s no coincidence that these are really the only two areas of my job that I enjoy.

I’ve been job-hunting on and off for the last 6 months. I’ve trying to get a job that matches my admin experience with an interesting post in an interesting environment. The thought of working in a financial institution or a call centre fills me with dread. One post I’ve applied for recently is as the Championship Entries Co-ordinator for the Open, yes the major golf tournament. It pays more than what I am on and it’s based in St. Andrews, a scenic drive north. What concerns me is that I’ve applied for the post through and whenever I’ve applied for a job through them or I’ve never heard anything back. No acknowledgment, no rejection letter, no e-mail, nothing! This worries me as I really want this post as it looks and sounds very interesting. It’s a job that I could really utilise my strengths. Fingers crossed.

The LPM meeting was so dispiriting that I don’t even want to talk about it. Total shysters. Property Management equals licence to print money.

Watched "" after the meeting and realised I'd seen it before but I watched it nevertheless enjoyed it. I was amazed at how easy it seemed to be for them to raise $60m and the whole thing was over in about 18 months!

Friday 23 November 2007

WMESB™: 1 passenger.

An otherwise dull and uneventful day. I got three buses home from work and was cold, tired and very depressed by the time when I set foot in my house. I spent the rest of the evening updating the Jock'n'Roll website, answering e-mails and doing competitions. Oh, I forgot to mention that I won a £15 Waterstone’s voucher in this week’s Fife Free Press. It was for the crossword, which always seems to have very familiar clues. No matter, I’ve won and that’s all that counts.
I need a drink.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Monday 19 November 2007

I forget to mention a few things about last week.

The guitar arrived from the SAMH on Wednesday. It’s been signed by Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), Pop Up, The Passengers, Sam Cory (River Detectives), Jerry Dammers (The Specials), Michael Hargen, Danse or Die, Fortune Drive, The Amphetamines, The Daintees, 5th and Pontiac and Stroszek.

For the second week in a row I cried during “the Secret Millionaire” and once again it was the sight of a young child in tears, at being given some money to make a better life for herself, that set me off. Tonight’s episode also featured the Salford Lads’ Club, which features on the sleeve of The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead” album.

On Thursday I took a Family Care Day off to look after Flick. She picked up throughout the day and never fell asleep once, unlike myself. She was also well enough to kick my arse at Snakes and Ladders and The Shopping Game. She’s such a board and card game hustler. That’s my girl.

For the umpteenth day in a row our post was delivered at 3pm!! It’s bad enough that our normal posited usually turns up between 12 and 1. 3pm? That’s a joke. As much as I supported the posties throughout their recent strike it’s sometimes hard to continue to back them when the services is so poor. We had a non-existent second post taken off us (although I think they’ve actually binned the first and kept the second), postal charges continue to rise, not to mention the more complicated system for charging for posting letters, “big” letters and small packets!

On Friday it was back to getting the bus to work. On the WMESB™, there were 2.5 passengers (one got on at my stop but got off at Rosyth so I’m only counting her as a half because she only went half way) and for some reason, that still isn’t clear, the driver stopped just before Blackhall for 7/8 minutes. He wandered up the bus, then down the bus, then up, then down. He opened the front door, phoned someone, got back on, closed the door, opened the door again, closed the door and then sat down and drove off and not once did he think to inform us what was going on.

Friday was, as previously mentioned, quiz night. I forgot to mention all the team names: The Terrahawks, Fat Kids Always Win at Seasaw (my favourite), The Beasting Appreciation Society, Quizmas Crackers, Britney’s Briefs, Good Times and/or Bad Times, Woozy Bankers, The Team Formerly Known As Magiwhip, Only Smarties Have The Answer, Quizteama Aguilera, No Scooby Do and the imaginatively entitled Laura Hair’s team.

On this morning’s WMESB™ there was 1 passenger, yours truly, which brings the average number of passengers on that bus down to a round 2 again! I got off the D7 at the Ferrytoll. It changed to a 53 and as I got inside the building I saw the X57 appeared behind the 53. I wondered out, overtook a ditherer who didn’t seem to know if it was New York or New Year, and made my way to the X57. I stood at his door, waiting for it to open. But he ignored me and moved the bus forward as the 53 went on its way. So I walk forward to the X57 as yet another ditherer skips in front of me. He opens the doors as I give him an absolutely evil stare and boy does he know it. Meanwhile the queue-jumping dimwit fumbles in her bag for her ticket and proceeds to drop all her belongings on the floor. I make sure my loud exhalation of air is heard at the back of the bus. Finally she gets her life together and finds her ticket. I finally step on to the bus, hold my Megarider ticket up and say, “Transfer”. He wants to take it off me and punch it but as it’s already been punched I continue that I’d just come off the D7 that had pulled in in front of him and therefore it doesn’t need punching because my journey form Dunfermline to Edinburgh is in two parts. (It pisses me off that I have to keep explaining to Stagecoach drivers how their own transfer system works). He makes a begrudging grumbling noise as I take my seat. I put on my mp3 player and watch the traffic for the rest of the journey. I didn’t thank him when I got off. I always make a point of thanking drivers who have got me from A to B with the minimum of fuss and on time. This is a practice I’ve instilled in Felicity.

I’m not in a sociable mood today. I like rain and I don’t mind wind but put the two together and throw in some faulty heating and my feet are like blocks of ice. On the way into work I saw three brass monkeys crying their eyes out. I’m filling myself up with hot coffee and the thought of a hot water bottle tonight.

Major TV clash tonight. Monday is normally quiz night with Mastermind on at 1930, followed by University Challenge at 2000 but Watchdog has been moved to BBC1 at 1930 (I suspect to accommodate the England game on Wednesday) and there’s a Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 featuring Mark Thomas investigating the not-so squeaky world of Coca Cola. The problem is that we’ve never had our analogue aerial put in and as a result we can only tape the channel we’re on! I’ve mentioned Sky+ to the GLW a number of times but she isn’t biting yet!

When you’re self-employed you don’t have to worry about petty office bureaucracy like having to do a 1 o’clock all week for two weeks out of four. I hate one o’clock lunches. I’m always starving at 12 and besides the little “angels” from the school across the road get out for lunch at 1245 and the local supermarket is swarming with them.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

WMESB™: Only 1 passenger today, which was of course yours truly
Driver: Approaching a narrow stretch of road near the Ferrytoll the driver took exception to a white van man for some reason. All I heard was “Look at the size of me (I think he meant his bus but he'll never see 18 stone again). Thick? It’s you that’s fuckin’ thick”. Charming.
This morning’s mp3 tunes included: “Portions for Foxes” (Rilo Kiley), “Torn” (Natalie Imbruglia), “Do The Standing Still” (The Table), “Public Image” (PiL), “Back Together” (Babybird), “Freakin’ Out (Graham Coxon), “Obscurity Knocks” (Trashcan Sinatras) and “Eat For Two” (10,000 Maniacs).

Last night I watched Watchdog, University Challenge and Dispatches on Channel 4 + 1, which was about Coca-Cola and how naughty and bad they are. Boo! Hiss!

Following on from the battles with Stagecoach, the latest company to feel my wrath is Life Property Management, the factors for the area I live in. We had to pay £150 when we moved in and then we didn’t get a bill for 3 years! The most recent bill, the cause of my annoyance (and those of my fellow neighbours), included a number of “interesting” charges. The most contentious one being that the debt of non-payers (and the legal charges in pursuing it) is spread between those who do pay their bills.

A recent exchange has just angered me even more. I was promised a map of the areas covered by this company (I believe we’re also being charged for another area that is totally separate form ours and I wanted to check which bits we should be paying for) and yet when I chased it up I was told it would now cost £10+ VAT!!! I only want a photocopy! And if we want to look at the accounts of the “trust” account that has been set up for all our payments, charges, interests etc then we’ll incur another charge!! At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

There’s a meeting on Thursday and I’m in two minds as to whether I want to go because I’ll end up even more frustrated than normal. If they’re as arrogant in person as they are in their written correspondence there could well be a lynching and maybe a hanging or two. I’m determined to stay at the back and keep a low profile and take notes.

Yesterday I got some junk mail, which I tend to get quite a bit of down to the number of competitions and prize draws I enter, and one of them was a Formula One catalogue. I flicked through it and there were SEVEN Lewis Hamilton biographies. He’s had one season in F1, albeit a good one, and suddenly everyone is writing his life story!! As Gordon Ramsay would say, fuck me!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I really must remember, having spent all day doing it instead of working, to e-mail my Blog home.

Having watched Dispatches on Channel 4 +1 it got me to thinking about the companies I dislike and/or avoid giving my hard earned pennies to. Companies that have done me wrong over the years include:

1. Amtrak - Okay it was a franchisee but he was representing them so he's in my list. Said he would deliver my new computer on a Monday and then didn't show up because "he forgot"! I couldn't take another day off and my mother-in-law had to endure a right bloody misery when he did turn up. I haven't forgotten you pal. I just hope that one day I'll have a huge company and I'll put the deliveries out to tender and you can apply and then I can say, "Fuck off ya torn-faced misery! Forget my computer? I didnae!!"

2. Coca-Cola - for all the reasons pointed out by Mark Thomas and many others before him and to come. It wouldn't be so bad if the stuff wasn't such gutrot. Thank god the Flickster prefers good old fashioned water. I can't believe there's eight spoonfuls of sugar in each can and it takes more than 330ml of water to make that much juice. The situation in Colombia is particularly galling as paramilitaries are killing workers who want to be in a union. Workers are forced to sign statements resigning from the union. These statements were printed on Coca-Cola factory machines and collected by management yet Coca-Cola HQ claims that it has nothing to do with them. Increasingly these paramilitaries are targeting the families of union members and murdering those who fail to comply with their demands. Another problem is the unsustainable use of local water, which farmers rely on for their crops. Waste products from bottling plants have found to have pesticides in them. Of course, Coca-Cola's own studies found that the water was 100% pure. Hmm...

3. Starbucks - overpriced coffee on every bloody corner. And it's not even that nice.

4. Tesco - especially for the way they treat their fruit and vegetable suppliers and their destruction of the "high streets" in every town.

5. Stagecoach - they continue to bully their way into local communities and as soon as any opposition is driven out they cut services and put prices up. Let's not forget the homophobic spoutings of Brian Soutar, which has obviously filtered down to at least one of his drivers as this story demonstrates.

6. Ambertop/Help Mates/Europe Suppliers Ltd - or whatever the many other Eastern European here-today-gone-tomorrow companies calls themselves. They put leaflets through your door claiming to be collecting clothes, shoes and bric-a-brac (I wonder what the Lithuanian for bric-a-brac is) for their fellow countrypeople only to find out it's all sold on for profit. These people are absolute scum who are "stealing" gifts that should be going to genuine charities. I've written to the local Trading Standards and my local politicians on the subject, as well as knocking on all my neighbours doors and letting them know of these scamsters. I also wrote to the Dunfermline (De)Press but they stole the content of my letter and used it as the basis for an article of their own without so much as a credit.

7. Ticketmaster - how many more fees can they invent to add on top of the already inflated ticket prices? admin fee, booking fee, putting them in an envelope fee, fee fee trixiebelle... When I went to all seven dates of The Smiths' September 1985 tour of Scotland I sent a cheque and an SAE to five of the seven venues (I got the Glasgow and Edinburgh tickets in Ripping Records) and I got all the tickets back within a week. I still have the tickets; I really must scan them in posterity.

8. HMV - I had no choice on Saturday but under normal circumstances I wouldn't go near them. Too expensive, poor choice and they never gave me a job once. Reason enough, methinks.

9. Banks - Going down the Ticketmaster route. The Reclaim Bank Charges campaign shook them up but they still worm their way out of these situations. Amazing how the government can find billions to save Northern Rock but the Farepak customers screwed for a total of £40m are still waiting for their money.

10. Celtic and Rangers Football Clubs - An unhealthy monopoly over the rest of the football clubs in Scotland. They continue to cherrypick the best of their domestic opposition by waving big wage packets in front of their faces. (Most of these players end up warming the bench and then being sold on down south). They weaken the other SPL teams and then complain that their poor performances in Europe are down to no competition at home. They want their deep-fried cake and eat it. Let's not forget the Weegia's (Glaswegian Media) obsession with reporting anything and everything about the Rantic, to the detriment of the other Scottish clubs. They also continue to pay lip service to the anti-sectarian initiatives. I like to see them lose.

Who do you hate?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Friday 16 November

If I'd known we were finishing work at 1230 (due to a power outage) I could've brought the car. As it was I didn't and had to get a 53 bus to the Ferrytoll and then a D7 home, which snuck in behind a parked bus and almost drove off again without me. It's a good job I saw his reflection in the wing mirrors of the parked bus - I would NOT have been happy! The GLW had already left to take the Flickster to ballet so I had time to shower and get my quiz master clothes on. Okay, it was just my Beatles Help shirt but it's "zany" enough for a quiz night. I check the audio round for the umpteenth time and it works. I won't be able to relax until I get to the venue and make sure it all works there.

After the girls got back we all headed off to the Outlaws, where we were staying for the night. Debbie kindly agreed to babysit, little realising that the Outlaws don't have satellite telly and it was also Children in Need night! After some scrummy macaroni cheese we headed out to the venue. Joe, who kindly agreed to sign everyone in for the night, was already there when we arrived. I set the equipment up, gave it a test run and it worked perfectly. THANK GOD!

I immediately relaxed and went into hyper mode. After a brief table problem (11 teams and only 8 long tables) was sorted, we got under way. The first half was News, Numbers, Music and the first of two audio rounds. A picture round, featuring the first 21 Mr Men, was also handed out at the start and the teams had the whole of the first half to complete it and hand it in. After a half-time buffet we had Sport, Pot Luck, TV and Film and the second audio round. It seemed only right that I should plug the jocknroll website as we played 10 snatches (oo-er missus) of Jock'n'Roll hits, including Orange Juice, Hue and Cry and Belle and Sebastian's "Legal Man", which nobody got. (There were no points if you said Revillos instead of Rezillos and Clare Grogan instead of Altered Images). The first audio round had been "Back To The Old School", featuring the likes of Black Box, The Shamen and MARRS. Nobody got Eric B and Rakim's "Paid in Full" (yes, they all went for the heavily-sampled "Pump Up The Volume", which appeared five 'snatches' later) or Bomb The Bass' "Beat Dis".

The second picture round was the one I was most interested in seeing the room's reaction to. I'd gone on the company's website and downloaded the photos of ten members of staff at random and then I'd uploaded the images to the website. The resulting images made up the picture round. The GLW was worried that no-one would get any but it turned out that every picture was correctly guessed by at least one team. As it turned out, only one person pictured in the quiz was there in person and he's pictured right.

In the end "Good Times and/or Bad Times" won the quiz by six points from "Britney's Briefs" and "Laura Hair's Team". Joe played along as The Terrahawks with Katie and the other bar staff and they managed to come in 12th...of 12!! After the quiz was done and dusted Rab the DJ, who I introduced as the "Darth Vader of the slide fader, no man on two turntables cut straighter" hit the decks. Some people left straight after the quiz but Kirsty and I proceeded to get a bit tiddly and dance the rest of the night away. As well as a Slosh, which Kirsty fucked up on twice, there was some northern soul (The Snake and There's a Ghost In My House), Black Box, Deee-Lite and pretty much whatever we asked for!

A taxi home with all the gear and we were soon listening to Debbie's tales of woe about what was on the box! No wonder she hit my father-in-laws booze!

Saturday 17 November

I don't know if it was a hangover, so much as being absolutely knackered from all the dancing but I just couldn't get out of bed.

I'd been paid for doing the quiz night by way of an HMV Gift Card and as I had to go to Toys R Us to get a Disney Princess "Prince Charming" (don't ask) I figured I might as well as spend them. I'm not a big fan of HMV as it's over priced but you can get a few bargains. The Toys R US part of the trip was straightforward but trying to spend the gift card in HMV seemed to take an age. Eventually I got something for my mother's Christmas, something for Flick (3 CD Disney box set), something for the GLW (Ryan Adams' "Easy Tiger") and a couple of things for myself. I see vouchers and gift cards etc as an ideal opportunity to get something I probably wouldn't have bought otherwise so I plumped for Kate Nash's "Made of Bricks" album and a box set from Tartan DVD of three music documentaries called "Essential Documentaries - Music". It features "The Devil and Daniel Johnston", "The Ramones - End of the Century" and "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" and I'm looking forward to watching them. I think next year (I assume they'll ask me back now that I have access to a good venue and I've done it for the last three or four years) I'll ask for a bigger fee. I think anyone who witnessed it will know how much effort was put into it and how much people enjoyed it. Maybe I need an agent to negotiate for me!!

After missing two 30 buses and then another when I couldn't find my Daysaver ticket in my pocket, I finally got a bus into Edinburgh. from there I decided to get an 8. I walked down to the Police Club, the scene of last night's triumph, and saw that the 8 wasn't due for another 19 minutes so I decided to walk to Broughton Street, where I could get a 17 too. There was only one other person at the stop so I left a space at the front of the bus stop for her, as she was wandering around, and waited patiently for the bus. Soon after a girl stood in the other ladies' space but I thought that at least she'll know I was here before her.

The bus was almost due when an elderly gentleman (and I use that phrase very loosely for reasons that will become apparent shortly) walked up to the bus stop and stood at the pavement in the space between the bus stop and the shelter. "I hope he doesn't think he's getting on before everyone else" I thought. Seconds later, the 8 comes round the corner and I make to go past the young girl. As I do she makes a comment about there being a queue and I point out to her that "I know and I was here before you". At that point I also tap the elderly man on the shoulder and tell him that's there's a queue. All hell breaks loose as he starts having a go at me and saying "tough, if you want to stand over there blah blah blah". I pointed out that I was actually in the queue in the shelter. I make no apologies for barging past him and shake my head towards the driver, who was also seems to be amused by it all.

The bus is busy so I take a seat right up the back. No sooner have I settled into my seat when the old codger is in my face having another verbal go at me. I tell him, without swearing (which is unusual for me when I'm angry), to sit down, shut up and learn some manners. He continues his barrage of abuse at me and I repeat the "sit down etc" mantra. Meanwhile a woman further up the bus starts on me, which I am flabbergasted about. She says stop the argument because she's got kids on the bus!! What the fuck has that got to do with anything? I ignore her. Then another guy to right wants to throw his tuppence worth in and proceeds to tell me that's he's just come off a night shift!! Big deal - is he the only person that's ever worked a night shift? Then he decides to shout to the driver to get me chucked off. Not once, not twice, but a number of times. I also tell him to be quiet and mind his own business. I have to say that when the bus finally gets going I am sitting in utter shock at what has just occurred. Someone tries to jump the queue ahead of a number of freezing people who have been waiting for up to 20 minutes, I defend mine and their positions and what happens I'm verbally abused by three people!! It really is a sad day when someone defending good manners and etiquette should be so unceremoniously attacked by complete morons. It is really is true, you cannot argue with idiots and these individuals were idiots. Complete fucking idiots and I make no apology for the language.

I regale the tale to the GLW and she can't believe it either. I'm just pleased I managed to remain so calm and didn't start swearing because then the driver probably would've had good cause to chuck me off. Mind you, if that had happened, night shift man would've been coming with me, whether he liked it or not. Even now I can't contain my incredulity at it all.

After a calming cup of tea the GLW drives us home while the Scotland v Italy game is on. This is deliberate as I don't know if I could have stood the tension of watching it. Even when I get home I can't catch the end because when I switch on the TV "Strictly Come Dancing" comes on and Flickster spots it straight away. No chance of seeing the game now!

After Flick goes to bed I suggest a KFC to the GLW. We've never had KFC before and I know the leisure park has one. I drive up there (any excuse), wait for my £9.99 Variety Bucket amongst some unsavoury characters (and that's just the staff) and head out of there as quickly as possible. I'm not convinced as to the VFM of the Variety Bucket but it serves it's purpose as slobby comfort food after a long night and trying day.

I see the goals from the Scotland game later on and I can't believe the decision that led to Italy's winner in injury time. A draw wouldn't have been enough for Scotland to qualify but they at least deserved it. Alex McLeish, the Scotland manager, has called for the Spanish officials to be punished for their error and no-one in Britain will disagree with that. Well done Scotland. (I reckon it'll be (or should be) between them and the Northern Ireland team for Sports Personality Team of the Year. Both have punched above their weight in the 2008 campaign and indeed the Irish still have a slim chance of qualifying, although they have to beat Spain in Spain and hope that Latvia beat Sweden).

Sunday 18 November

I busy myself today to try and contain my still simmering anger at the events of yesterday. I clean out a kitchen cupboard, put the recycling, do the dishes, fill the bins, do the crosswords and competitions whilst supping copious amounts of coffee.

After tea, I head off to Tesco to do the recycling, get some envelopes and stamps and then head off to the Dunfermline Press offices to post some comps and lastly go to the Royal Mail Sorting Office to post the other comps. I'm rather concerned that my envelopes and postcards barely make it into the box as it appears to overflowing!

When I get home I finally settle down to go through my e-mails, update the Jocknroll website and listen to Kate Nash, The Neon Tetra compilation, Sheryl Crow and the Heavy Nuggets CD that came with this month's MOJO. That reminds me, Joe gave me a CD of stuff by Jim Gipson, former lead singer of Black Nite Crash, which also featured Joe on bass. I'll give it listen this week.

It's now 2315 on Sunday and I really should be going to bed. I am mentally and physically exhausted and I'm running on empty. I'll sort my bag for work, make a sandwich for lunch and hit the hay. Goodnight fair people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Tuesday 13 November 2007

It’s 0710 and I’m feeling a bit down. I shouldn’t be tired as I actually went to bed before 11, for a change. I watched Mastermind (taped) and then the GLW watched “America’s Next Top Model”, which I abhor. After some aimless pottering in the study I called it a night. A coffee, some porridge and an anti-depressant should kick me into life.

I got a good e-mail from my ex-colleague (I would like to think of her as a friend) Victoria, who’s shacked up in Cyprus with her Greek God Zeus*. It was such a good e-mail; full of humour and interesting stuff; that I’m waiting for the right time to reply so I can do it justice. Victoria was a joy to work with and if I had a Fantasy Office (like Fantasy Football – nae kinky stuff) she’d definitely be in the team. That makes me think about whom else I’d have in the team from all the places I’ve worked. (* I may have made his name up purely for comedic effect).

I’d have Jane, who I worked with at the prison, Gaz and Joe, who work here (well, not HERE but for this employer), Anne Marie from SSHA/Scottish Homes/Key and Karen and Veronica from the Galleries. I’ve probably worked with other great people, whose names have been lost over the years, but these are the ones I’d work with again. Of course, I’d probably be the least competent of them all but as it’s my office I’d only be there for entertainment value and to do the quizzes and organise the nights out. Dream on Paul, dream on.

I’m getting a bit nervous about the quiz night on Friday, especially because I’m using my own portable PA, which I’ve never used in public before. I’m going to test it in the house tonight and make sure, for the umpteenth time, that the audio round plays okay.

Current favourite tunes:
The Stones Roses – Mersey Paradise
Babybird – Goodnight
Field Mice – Sensitive
Chin Chin – Stop! Your Crying
Art Brut – We Formed A Band
The Barracudas – We’re Living in Violent Times
Superstar – Every Day I Fall Apart
Radiohead – The Headmaster Ritual (webcast)
The Orchids – Last Thing On My Mind
Close Lobsters – I’m Going To Heaven To See If It Rains


Wednesday 14 November 2007

Phil, my close neighbour and occasional bus partner, sent me this e-mail this morning:

“My morning so far:

06:05 D7 Bus turns up five minutes late. I mention to the driver that he is supposed to be at Tesco at 6:00am so that he can link in with the 6:15am X57 from Ferrytoll in to Edinburgh.

06:06 Driver looks at me and mutters. Both my wife and I are now cursed for the rest of our lives.

06:06 - 06:12 Driver drives like a banshee through Rosyth hitting every speed bump at about 30mph and the passengers of the bus are bouncing about and suffering minor brain injuries.

06:13 Back axle on the bus breaks just outside Rosyth.

06:14 Driver continues on even though the wheels on the bus are no longer going 'round and round.'

06:14 Bad smell of burning and horrible scraping and screeching noises coming from the back of the bus.

06:15 Bus eventually sheds it's mortal coil and stops.

06:16 The X57 is stuck behind the now deceased D7

06:17 My fellow passengers (including the extra from Lord of the Rings) and I run at full pelt for a couple of minutes to get to the Ferrytoll.

06:22 The X57 has had to do a U-turn and head back up the road and go via Inverkeithing in order to get to the Ferrytoll.

06:25 After successfully getting a seat that isn't next to a fat person I depart to Edinburgh on the X57.

06:45 Arrive at my desk and wonder whether it is all worth it?

07:20 News report on the radio that a bus is blocking one of the roads leading to the Ferrytoll and Forth Road Bridge.

In summary:

F**k me!”

Says it all about Stagecoach. I share his pain, while pissing myself laughing!

Last night I watched the Five programme about the Jonestown Massacre of 1978 and I found it less sensationalised than some of Five’s other factual programmes and documentaries. There were interviews with the few survivors and I found it enthralling. Less so the latest edition of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, which was a rehash/revisit of a previous show with only 10 minutes of new stuff. Very disappointing.

Went to bed feeling rather deflated. More and more I’m giving up on my dream of getting a job in a more creative environment, i.e. something in the media or broadcasting. I’m destined to rot away in a “good job” that pays a pittance and pushes me even less. Just shoot me now.

Got an e-mail from Dave, with whom I run the Jock ‘n’ Roll website, about the book idea. Since we started the site we’ve been looking a doing a book in connection with it. Dave’s been keener on the idea than I have but only because I feel there might not be a market. But I’m coming round to the idea and if we don’t try it we’ll never know where it might take us. This could well be the route to ‘where I want to go’. I’ve even come up with an idea for a companion book.

Dave’s got some free tickets for a gig by Will Hodgkinson, guitar neophyte extraordinaire (nope, I don't know what it means either). I never read any of his books but they’re now on my Christmas list and I’ve added a link to his website and Guardian column (see left). (Talking of which, I’ve added a few more links for websites, blogs and MySpaces for bands and people I like, nay, love - Hi Giselle and The Orchids).

The Orchids, who came out of retirement last year, have another Glasgow gig scheduled in for Wednesday 28th November at The Cottier Theatre. I do love them but the gig is on a Wednesday night in Glasgow, the same night Celtic play Shakatak in the Champions League. I’ll see if Dave fancies a mini ‘road trip’. The last time I was at the Cottier was to see the BMX Bandits over ten years ago. In fact, I think I was still in the Navy then. They played a fabulous pre-show tape and I wrote to them asking for a copy. That’s when I heard Annette Funicello for the first time. I then downloaded everything I could find by her, including the fabulously apposite “Tall Paul”.

The guitar has arrived at work from the SAHM. It’s a white Stagg number and has been signed by loads of Scottish bands, like Mogwai, Pop Up and The Passengers. Technically it’s a Stagg L400 LP and retails for around £150. A nice wee prize. Hell, I mean even learn how to play the thing. Or, if I don't Flick will. I get her into a Girl Gargae band yet.

Flick’s no well so I’ve left work at lunchtime amd it's home for soup, cuddles and cartoons, which actually means that we’ll both be asleep on the settee twenty minutes into "101 Dalmatians" and definitely by the time the GLW comes home!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday 10 November 2007

I forgot to mention that a non-league team called Ware (probably from the Jewsons Timber Division 4 South B league) were at home to Kidderminster in the FA Cup. Ware lost 2-0 and had a man sent off. His name was Danny Wolf. So he was the first Ware Wolf to play in the FA Cup!! He doesn't look very hairy for a werewolf!!

The GLW suggested we have a takeaway but instead of phoning I drove to the restaurant myself. The one I thought I was going to had shut down but luckily there was another open nearby. Although I have to say I couldn’t get out of the area quick enough. Too many kids loitering about asking people to buy them drink from Haddows, the only other shop open in the area. Head down, straight into the car and off I went. (Just for the record, I had Szechuan King Prawn and the GLW had Lemon Chicken, which came with a lot of pineapple for some reason).

Turned out there was nothing to watch on our hundred or so channels so we decided to continue our A-Z of our DVDs. Back in May we decided that because we have lots of DVDs that we’ve never watched we would start at A and work our way through the alphabet. The plan was to watch the DVD on a Saturday night, as the TV is generally rubbish. Unfortunately, after the first weekend, when we watched the excellent “Almost Famous”, we’ve just never had a chance to watch the next one, until Saturday that is.

The GLW had seen “Amelie” but I hadn’t and I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, after a tiring week at work we only lasted 45 minutes before we started nodding off. So we have part 2 to watch, no doubt sometime in February 2008. We should get to Z by the time we’re collecting our pensions and DVDs have become already become extinct.

Sunday 11 November 2007

I woke up feeling as knackered as when I went to bed. We had no milk for breakfast
So I drove to a local shop, instead of Tesco. I’ve been doing this more and more.

After brekkie and a shower, I went off to Tesco for a full shop. I walked in during the two minute’ silence, which I’d completely forgotten about. At first I thought I’d walked into Westworld and was waiting for Yul Brynner to appear. After a quick zip round, well as fast as the multitude of ditherers would allow, I bumped into an old neighbour in the car park. When I say “old neighbour”, of course I mean that he used to live near us and not that he was elderly! After exchanging chitchat about family, houses and buses we went our separate ways. It’s a good job too because it was really cold and I was only wearing a rather natty, if I do say so myself, Postcard Records t-shirt.

It was off home for a light lunch then off to Flick’s nursery to get some photos done. Once a year they get a professional photographer in and they make good presents for relatives. Flick was an absolute star and “performed” well although she seemed quite non-plussed about the whole thing.

Then it was back out again to Tesco to drop off the recycling, get some petrol and put the car through the car wash. Now, filling up with petrol and using a car wash are two of the things they don’t teach you when you’re learning to drive and I wish Ron had. The petrol station was really busy and the only one available was on the “wrong side”. One attempt to stretch the nozzle over the car failed so I had to put it back, and try and manoeuvre the car into a better position. I did it but only just. I must have looked a right idiot. I actually managed to get bang on £20. I paid for the petrol, got my code for the car wash and drove into it. Only I get going too far forward or too far back and when I did get it right I got worried because the whole started moving and I thought I’d left the handbrake off. At least I remembered to close the window!

During a late lunch/early dinner Flick commented that she was “full up to her head”! Kids do indeed say the funniest things.

Then I headed off to the study to do the competitions and crosswords. I thought I’d check the tape for the audio round and was horrified to find it blank!! To cut a long frustrating story short I had to burn the Audio Rounds off I-Tunes, where I’d thankfully saved them, and then tape them on to cassette. I also added another intro track. As well as The Quik’s “Bert’s Apple Crumble”, my intro of choice on my hospital show, I’ve added “Answers” by The Questions, a Scottish band from the 80s. Panic over and I calmed my nerves with an intake of caffeine.

I hunted on the net for news of Daryl Peach’s match at the World Pool Championship and was rather disappointed that the BBC website had no news of it. It was only when I went on to the tournament’s official site that I found that Daryl had won 17-15. He’d beaten three local players on the way to the title. He probably won’t merit a mention on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards but I for one appreciate his victory, the first by a Briton.

What a busy day.

Monday 12 November 2007

I had to scrape some ice off the back window this morning, something else I hadn’t done since passing my test. I even had time to drop off a couple of competition entries at the Dunfermline Press before heading off to work. This week’s listening choice is “The Complete Stone Roses”.

Flick has taken to singing The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles”, which is so cute. She’s getting quite a repertoire, what with her already doing “The Time Warp” (dance included) and some Christmas tunes. Before you know it, she’ll be on tour!

A reasonably busy day at work. Three more idiots on The Word Is Out. Are we bitter because we didn't get through? You bet your life we are.
I got a couple of interesting phone calls mid-afternoon. Firstly, I got a call from a lady (I didn't catch her name) from the SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) informing me that I'd won a signed guitar in a competition. I vaguely remember the competition because I don't normally do text competitions because they're too expensive but as this was a worthy cause, and one close to my heart, I entered. I don't recall what the question/answer was but I won and that's the main thing!! They're going to courier it over to me at work so I can take it home in the car. Of course, I've not idea how to play the thing but hey, I'll just potter about on it.
Not long after that I got a call from Michelle at "Brainbox", the quiz show I'd auditioned for in Glasgow recently. She just wanted to confirm a couple of things about shows I'd been on before. Like most serial applicants I'd omitted some shows from my form and I thought she might've been on to me (It's not as if I'm a serial winner. I've only won one "big" prize and £2000 wasn't exactly a fortune then, let alone now) but she only wanted to check what month I was on "Countdown" and "Sudo-Q" last year. She said she'd be in touch. I hope so.
Only one stall on the drive home today and it wasn't until I was over the bridge whizzing along the motorway when I saw someone flashing me (not that way) in the rear view mirror. I'd only forgotten to put my lights on. What a fanny! I thank him and then again when he overtook me later.


Are the GLW and I the only people who don’t find The Mighty Boosch funny?
How do you decide you want to become a pole-vaulter?
What is 'occasional furniture' the rest of the time?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Passengers on the WMESB/Driver Knowledge: 2 (The driver, who used to work on the Yellow Taxibuses, asked us which way to go!)
Queue jumpers: 0 (Bizarrely, the Ferrytoll was rather empty and I was the queue)
Journey Home: Not Applicable - off out 'on the town' tonight.
Media Mentions: 1 (My colleague Nikki managed to get through to "The Word Is Out" on Forth One but her answer, "Basic", was wrong. If it's not won by the time it gets to £5000 they're gonna make an announcement. I managed to get on "Beat It" again but my guess, actually Julie's idea, was wrong).

It was back to the bus today and I didn’t mind it too much because I could have an extra 20 minutes in my bed and I would get to work at least an hour later than I had been. The bus doesn’t seem so bad when I don’t have to use it all the time. Having the car has been a godsend, although the early mornings are taking its toll.

The painting of double yellow lines and dashed boxes continues on Fettes Avenue and Carrington Road as Edinburgh Council continues to squeeze the number of free car parking spaces. They were supposedly going to change the way cars parked on Carrington Road so as to get more spaces but that hasn’t happened. We had hoped that the free parking area in two thirds of Fettes Avenue would be 'bayed' off but alas they’ve just made one big box in each part of the road. We thought that if proper bays were put in then more cars could be fitted in because some of the parking, which I can see from my window, is shocking. However, the Council wouldn’t want that because it would be less likely that drivers would use their Pay and Display bays. Why they need Pay and Display in a non-residential area is beyond me. It’s nothing but a moneymaking exercise. Parking charges in local hospitals have been a topic of discussion since they were brought in and this blogger thinks it’s disgusting that emergency services staff has to pay to park at their place of work.

Lothian and Borders Police have been in the new themselves this week as this link to “Anger as police complaint becomes net hit” shows: A colleague forwarded the much-discussed e-mail to me and I forwarded it to the GLW. Why? Because the language used is funny. That’s not to play down the issues raised or the seriousness of the complaints. As someone who had a similar problem when I lived in Leith I have a lot of sympathy with the original complainer. I don’t know that I would complain with quite the same language (as tempting as it is I don’t feel that it achieves anything) but I feel for the complainer’s frustration at the apparent disregard for his concerns. What has become apparent is that his e-mail and the ensuing publicity has brought the issues to the world’s attention and you can be sure that action will be taken in the area.

As to the issue of how the e-mail got into public domain, I think it’s no different to any other viral e-mail that contains a joke, or cartoon, or amusing story. Thanks to the information super dual carriageway, these e-mails spread quicker and it really is no surprise, having read the e-mail in question, that this one has spread so fast.

Some of the many comments (they stopped comments after 199) on The Scotsman’s version of the story are obviously from police staff and they make valid points about the Force Communication Centre and the dissemination of police officers. They have too much red tape and paperwork to get through and this negates any efforts to be where people want them to be and that is on the streets.

The complainer will have got an unexpected response to his e-mail (worldwide publicity – it even made the Scottish news) and I would hope that common sense would prevail and that no member of police staff is disciplined over the distribution. I believe this would only occur if the e-mail writer made an official complaint.


The GLW and I engaged in a very cultural pursuit on Friday night and went to the theatre. If ever a man was born to play Henry Hobson in "Hobson's Choice" it was John Savident. John is most famous, I say, most famous for his role as Lancastrian butcher Fred Elliott in the nation's favourite soap Coronation Street. His booming voice and larger-than-life persona filled the auditorium at the King's Theatre without suffocating the rest of the cast, who were excellent. I must give a special mention to Dylan Charles, who I thought was superb as Will Mossop.

As to the venue itself, I've never liked the seats there and tonight was no exception. Kirsty had got us seats at the side, right by the exit, so I could stretch my pins but I just couldn't settle in seats that would've tested the hardiest of bottoms. I don't know if there's any insect problem there but I found myself scratching a lot (even now, as I think about it). But it was just good to get out and about in Edinburgh on a bustling Friday night. Our move to Dunfermline was borne out of financial necessity and a falling out of love with the capital but on nights like this I really miss Edinburgh. I especially miss the Cameo Cinema, which is just across the road from the King's. The only cinema in Dunfermline is one of those multiplex cinemas that is more interested in downmarket Hollywood cack that usually stars Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan or Adam Sandler. No chance of seeing "Sicko" or "Control" in Dunfermline, I'm afraid.

Every trip into Edinburgh for a night out is planned like a military operation and almost always involves a babysitter. We were determined to enjoy "Hobson's Choice" although we could have easily fallen asleep through the whole play such was our mental state after a long week. The GLW's parents, my outlaws, are off to see it tonight. They'll love it as much as we did. Next morning, the GLW, The Flickster and Granny headed off to see The Gruffalo's Child and I went drove home.


When I got home I was all set to have a shower and get on with some "stuff" (boys are good at doing "stuff") when I made the fatal error of switching the television on. I love pool and the 2007 World Championships (held in Manila) were on and there were two Englishmen in the last eight.

When I tuned in Blackpool's Daryl Peach was up against local favourite Francisco Bustamante in his quarter-final and was leading 9-8, however the momentum was with the Filipino and in this winner-breaks-off format he was looking good for the victory. However, the match changed completely thanks to a rather controversial incident in the 20th frame, after Francisco had taken a 10-9 lead.

Bustamante was at the table when he found himself snookered. He played a kick shot off the cushion in an attempt to hit the 3-ball. He appeared to have struck lucky by playing the 3 and hitting the 9 into the top right hand pocket, thereby "winning" the frame and match. However, referee Nigel Rees thought it was a foul and brought the celebrations to a halt, much to the bemusement of the local and very partisan crowd. Numerous replays, including a decisive overhead shot, showed that the Filipino had indeed struck the 9-ball first and the "foul" call was the correct one. Peach asked for a break to compose himself and then Bustamante asked to see the Tournament Director who agreed with the referee's decision.

Bustamante, who'd been tetchy throughout the match could do nothing as Peach, under tremendous pressure, cleared the table to bring the match all-square at 10-10 and then held his nerve through the chaos to pot a difficult 9 in the last to win the match 11-10. The locals weren't happy as they booed the outcome and neither was Bustamante who barely shook hands with the victor. Peach went on to win his semi and faces Filipino qualifier Roberto Gomez in tomorrow morning's final.

After the tension of that controversial pool match, I swapped channels and sports as I taped the Joe Calzaghe fight for the GLW (we have to watch the channel we're taping because we don't have a hard drive or Sky+). Although the fight was last week, it was only shown on Setanta and the BBC were able to show the whole 12 round fight again. Calzaghe was always in control as he unified every belt in the 12st Super Middleweight Division. Well done Joe.

By the time the pool and boxing were over I had achieved nothing. I popped out to get a couple of newspapers, including the Daily Record, which I was only buying because it had a free CD featuring up and coming Scottish bands. The CD featured tracks by The Green Peppers (new band of ex-Soup Dragon and Superstar guitarist Jim McCulloch), Our Lunar Activities, Joe Kennedy, The Goldenhour, The Ronelles, Daniel Wylie, The River Detectives (yes, they're still going), The Fast Camels, Ally Kerr and Water School. The Green Peppers actually feature twice with guest appearances from Del Amitri's Justin Curie and Isobel Campbell, an established solo artist following her departure from Belle and Sebastian. The CD is to promote the rather wonderful Neon Tetra Records, home to some of the finest independent artists in Scotland. There's a couple of these artists that I don't have on the Jock 'n' Roll site so I'll need to add them and give the CD a mention and links to the bands.artists websites and/or MySpaces.

I picked up Flick and the GLW from Dalgety Bay station, just as close as Dunfermline Town, and brought them home. I then took the decision to cut the grass out the back. It hadn't been done for a couple of weeks due to the weather (the drainage is poor in the back garden and it needs a sustained period of good weather to dry the grass before cutting) and I was determined it would be neat and tidy before winter appeared. A job well done although the lawn will need some work on it next year as it's a bit patchy and even muddy in places. It's not too bad, compared with each of my neighbours whose had their grass savaged by big trampolines, but I'd like it better. Check me out, Alan Titchmarsh!

I got my second Media Mention of the week as my e-mail to the Fife Herald and Post, amongst others, featured heavily in another story about our bus problems. The article, entitled "Bus timetable changes remain controversial" includes the usual quotes from Stagecoach plus Fife Councillors Tony Martin (Lib Dem) and Mike Rumney (Labour). These are two of the four councillors who cover my Ward and not surprisingly they have differing views. Mr Martin has, in previous correspondence with me, come across as a Stagecoach apologist and as he's the head of the Transport Committee that's not a good thing for the Eastern Expansion. Because Mr Rumney is on the minority in the Council he's obviously taking on the role of the "good guy". It was certainly a different story when he was in the majority but I'll let that pass for now.

Right, I have a small child to bath and stories to tell. I suspect it'll be The Gruffalo's Child tonight, so sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.